FIGAROVOX / OPINION - The European Union has launched Article 7 of the Treaty of Lisbon against Poland, whose government is suspected of wanting to violate the rule of law. For Patrick Edery, this is an arbitrary decision and more useless.
Patrick Edery is Chief Executive Officer of Partenaire Europe, a consulting firm from Central Europe.
For nearly two years, Poland has become, within the European Union, the symbol of absolute evil. It uses particularly extreme and warlike elements of language: the most striking example was the threat to commit Article 7 of the EU Treaty against it as a "nuclear weapon". This Wednesday, December 20, 2017, the European Commission has finally decided to implement this threat because of "a clear risk of serious violation of the rule of law in Poland." But then why this
decision a few days before Christmas, and when a new Polish prime minister had just been appointed?
Would Polish politicians have been arrested or demonstrations re-apprehended with disproportionate force? No, it happened in Spain. Perhaps because a journalist, who specifically accused the wife of a prime minister of having an account in Panama to harbor bribes, was murdered in the explosion of his vehicle? No, it happened in Malta, turned into "mafia island", according to the son of the victim. Would far-right ministers have been appointed to regal portfolios? This took place in Austria. Perhaps Poland has decided to put in place an energy policy that risks endangering the security of the whole of Central Europe, and is in breach of the legislation defined by Brussels? No, it's Germany. Maybe it has not met the Maastricht criteria for years and, in 2018, will break its loan record, the largest in the EU? No, this time it's us.
For the first time in its history, the European Commission has triggered Article 7. Also, in view of the proven acts of other members, the Polish "risk" of infringement must be particularly serious.
The 5 Commandments of Brussels in Warsaw
According to the Commission: "As a result of the judicial reforms in Poland, the country's judiciary is now under the political control of the ruling majority." In its recommendation on Wednesday, the Commission sets out a series of 5 measures that the Polish authorities must take to ease his concerns. Note that the Commission talks about risks and concerns. There is therefore no factual finding on the part of the Commission of a violation of the rule of law? Continuing, the Polish authorities are invited by Brussels to:
First measure: "To amend the Supreme Court Act so as not to reduce the retirement age of current judges, to remove the discretionary power of the President to extend the term of office of Supreme Court justices and to abolish the extraordinary appeal procedure, which provides for the possibility of calling into question definitive judgments rendered several years earlier ".
The Supreme Court is the equivalent of the Court of Cassation in France. The new Polish law provides that judges over 65 will be automatically retired. This implies that the judges born in the 50s and who were magistrates under the communist regime and especially during the state of siege will be targeted. This law also allows citizens claiming to be the victims of an unfair trial, exceptionally for the past 20 years, to request a review. The objective displayed here is twofold: to dissolve the last Polish power that had not been when the wall fell, and to renew a judicial power considered nepotical.
Second measure "Amend the National Judicial Council Act so as not to terminate the term of office of member judges and to ensure that the new appointment system continues to ensure the election of member judges by their peers."
So far, out of the 25 member judges of the National Council of Magistracy, 15 were appointed by other magistrates, without any control of the citizens. From now on, these 15 magistrates will be designated by the deputies. Each parliamentary group may propose no more than 9 judges, and each group must be able to nominate at least one. And the list of these 15 judges will have to receive 3/5 of the votes of the National Assembly.
Is it not more democratic that the "judges of the judges", instead of co-opting (nominated among themselves), be appointed by the elected representatives of the people? Admittedly, judges are experts, but to let them make this decision is not to switch to technocracy?
Third measure : "Amend or repeal the law on the organization of ordinary courts, in particular to abolish the new pension scheme applicable to judges, including the discretionary power of the Minister of Justice to extend the term of office of the courts. judges and to appoint and dismiss the presidents of the courts. "
These are purely administrative measures. The law reform provides that cases are assigned to judges by lottery, so court presidents become essentially "administrative directors".
Fourth measure: "Restore the independence and legitimacy of the Constitutional Court, ensuring that its judges, president and vice-president are legally elected and that all its judgments are published and fully implemented; The highest Polish legal authorities. "
The European Commission and the Polish opposition have challenged, together, the validity of the election of certain judges of the Constitutional Court (French equivalent of the Constitutional Council) and, in turn, the validity of the election of its President and Vice-President . However, the Commission and the opposition consist of senior officials and politicians and not magistrates. In addition to the Constitutional Court, the equivalents of our Courts of Cassation (Supreme Court) and the Council of State in Poland have, by their judgments, validated the legality of these elections. But the "Polish Court of Cassation", the Supreme Court, can not be accused of inclinations for the party in power in Poland. Apart from the fact that a large part of the reforms concern its magistrates, it regularly opposes, by communiques, the party in power in Poland. Its president even took part and spoke at at least one event organized by the opposition.
Fifth measure: "Refrain from acts and public statements that further undermine the legitimacy of the judiciary."
Here the Commission imposes as a condition, to suspend prosecution, that persons lawfully and legitimately elected in a member state do not approach all subjects of their choice in the way they wish. In other words, a Polish elected official, if he believes that the judiciary is corrupt, does not have the right to say it, if he wants his country not to be sanctioned by the EU.
Everyone will judge in his soul and conscience these 5 measures. And to do this, it would be good to have in mind some
Mr. Timmermans a political commissar?
The first is that Mr Timmermans, 1st Vice-President of the Commission, in charge of the 'Polish file' within the Commission is appointed and not elected. Although he is a former Social Liberal MP, his party now accounts for only 5.7% of the voters in the Netherlands.
Since the PiS came to power in Poland, Mr Timmermans has been repeating almost word for word the arguments of the liberal political parties who oppose the government in Warsaw. It should also be remembered that Mr Timmermans' "Polish guarantee" is the President of the European Council, Mr Tusk. The latter is the founder of the main opposition political party in Poland. In addition, he is still old enough to return to business in his country. If Mr Timmermans got his way and disqualified the party in power in Warsaw, Mr Tusk would be the first beneficiary of this change. It must be understood that Mr Timmermans, who has been convicting the Polish government for two years without trial, has only investigative power.
Why martyrize Poland?
Beyond the question of the merits of this action, why does Brussels threaten Poland with a procedure that everyone knows is doomed to failure? Indeed, in order to complete this procedure, States must unanimously agree and Hungary has already announced that it will oppose it. Why not translate Warsaw to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)? It does not require the consent of the Member States but, on the other hand, makes legal and not political decisions. Does this mean that the offense is not recorded? That there is only a "risk"? Admittedly, the Commission referred the case to the CJEU, but for sic: "Discrimination on grounds of sex because of the introduction of a different retirement age for women judges (60 years) and men judges (65 years ). "
For the good of Europe Poland must not submit.
Many leaders of the liberal parties accuse Poland of all the evils of Europe, but has the PiS been in power for 20 years? This "Polish" affair, would it not be the illustration of the increasingly worrying evolution of Europe? Some, like the President of the French Republic, propose to refound the EU But to replace it by what? No one really knows it. Symbolically his foundations had already been shaken by the degrading treatment imposed on the Greek people against his will. We will not speak about the acronym designating the Latin countries protesters: PIGS (pigs in English). Is it now necessary to do the same with Poland, living incarnation of this Christian cement? It will then remain only to turn the EU into a replacement of lead replacing foundations, walls and roof. In fine what is the objective? Create a new European without soil, without attachment, without limit in his rights? To weaken the states and deprive us of our identities?
In the last 3 centuries Poland has survived the empires and dictatorships that wanted to subjugate it. It will surely be the same with this new liberal technocracy. Can we say as much?